Thanks for checking out 12 Days of Christmas — this special sneak peek of a feature article in the Nov/Dec 2015 issue of Children’s Ministry Magazine.
Now subscribe today and get more great articles like this one—delivered to your mailbox and tablet—all year long!
Let kids experience the true excitement of Christmas with these crafts, games, reflections, and object lessons
Experience the astonishing Christmas message from prophecy to fulfillment! As you lead kids through these festive experiences and teach them the lyrics to our adaptation of the “12 Days of Christmas,” they’ll rejoice over Jesus’ birth in song and in action.
DAY 1: Jesus Is the Light of the World
Use this object lesson to show kids that Jesus is the light that brings life to the world. This activity is not suitable for preschoolers.
You’ll need a Bible, a funnel, hot and cold water, access to a refrigerator, an empty 8-ounce water bottle for each child, and a supply of the following ingredients (amounts listed are for each water bottle): 1 tablespoon black thermochromic pigment powder (available at Amazon), 2 ounces glycerin (available at local drugstores), and 4 to 5 drops of yellow food coloring.
Have an adult prepare the bottles ahead of time by filling them one-fourth full of cold water. Add glycerin to the bottles so they’re half full. Add yellow food coloring. Read safety instructions on the thermochromic pigment packaging; then add about a tablespoon of the pigment, close the lid, and shake. Refrigerate the water bottles, as warming the pigment will cause the color to change from black to yellow.
Say: At Christmas, we celebrate Jesus’ birth, but the Bible says that Jesus already existed before his birth.
Read aloud John 1:1-3, replacing “the Word” and related pronouns with “Jesus.” Give each child one of the prepared water bottles.
Say: Let’s think about the universe before it was created. Have kids shake their bottles and note characteristics of the substance. There was no world. There was no water or land. There weren’t animals or plants or people. And there wasn’t even light—like inside these bottles. Pause to let kids think about this.
Read John 1:4-5. As you read, have one child add hot water to a bottle so it’s mostly full and shake it to disperse the heat. The contents will turn yellow. Allow time for kids to note how the “light” spread through the darkness. Then let each child add hot water to a bottle as the others watch and repeat John 1:4.
Ask: What did you think of our experiment? How is that like or unlike Jesus bringing life and light to the world? How can Jesus bring hope and light into people’s lives today?
Let kids take home their bottles.
“On the first day of Christmas, my true God said to me: Jesus is the light of the world.”
DAY 2: His Perfect Plan
Use this creative activity to discuss God’s plan to save the world.
You’ll need a Bible, colored pencils, and one copy per child of the “Mind Map”
Say: Imagine you could do whatever you wanted for a day—no restrictions. Give each child a Mind Map, and explain how to use it to plan the perfect day. Allow 10 minutes; then let kids share what they’ve drawn or written.
Say: God has a plan; he had it when he created the world. In the Bible, he often shared his plan with the people. Point out Isaiah 7:14 on “God’s Perfect Plan Mind Map,” and then read it aloud. God shared this plan hundreds of years in advance. He shared where Jesus would be born: Read Micah 5:2. And what Jesus would do: Read Jeremiah 23:5.
Explain whether you’ll be able to carry out your plan. What surprises you about God’s plan? How can reading it help you trust him?
Have kids take home their Mind Maps. Encourage them to dig into the other verses on the God’s Perfect Plan Mind Map.